World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
3. A Time for Everything
1For everything there is a season, and a time for very purpose under heaven: 2a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. 9What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboreth? 10I have seen the travail which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith. 11He hath made everything beautiful in its time: also he hath set eternity in their heart, yet so that man cannot find out the work that God hath done from the beginning even to the end. 12I know that there is nothing better for them, than to rejoice, and to do good so long as they live. 13And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy good in all his labor, is the gift of God. 14I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it; and God hath done it, that men should fear before him. 15That which is hath been long ago; and that which is to be hath long ago been: and God seeketh again that which is passed away. 16And moreover I saw under the sun, in the place of justice, that wickedness was there; and in the place of righteousness, that wickedness was there. 17I said in my heart, God will judge the righteous and the wicked; for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work. 18I said in my heart, It is because of the sons of men, that God may prove them, and that they may see that they themselves are but as beasts. 19For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; and man hath no preeminence above the beasts: for all is vanity. 20All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. 21Who knoweth the spirit of man, whether it goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast, whether it goeth downward to the earth? 22Wherefore I saw that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his works; for that is his portion: for who shall bring him back to see what shall be after him?
21. Who knoweth—Not doubt of the destination of man's spirit (Ec 12:7); but "how few, by reason of the outward mortality to which man is as liable as the beast and which is the ground of the skeptic's argument, comprehend the wide difference between man and the beast" (Isa 53:1). The Hebrew expresses the difference strongly, "The spirit of man that ascends, it belongeth to on high; but the spirit of the beast that descends, it belongeth to below, even to the earth." Their destinations and proper element differ utterly [Weiss].